A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

by Ishmael Beah
4.4 592

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A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 592 reviews.
iluvvideo More than 1 year ago
This book chronicles the childhood of young Ishmael in Sierra Leone. A fairly normal childhood until he is forced to run into the jungle as soldiers attack his village killing everyone they can catch and looting and burning the rest. For a short while flanked by others his age in similar situations he survives life constantly on the run. Then he is captured by a group of soldiers and retrained to think right and to be a soldier in the conflict. Some of the 'retrainee' soldiers are only 8 or 9 years old! Are these rebels trying to overthrow the government? Or the army protecting the citizens? Turns out not to matter. Each side is equally brutal and vicious. There is no good guys, only bad. He learns to fight, shoot and kill as well as the real soldiers. And to help avoid any feelings or reflection on his activities he is given access to various drugs to 'amp' him up further. By the grace of whatever higher power you choose to believe in, he gets selected for deprogramming and entry back into society. Not an easy task, but due to the incredible efforts of UNICEF and others it is finally done. Find out what has become of this young man and his new life. It is an unbelievable story. If it all wasn't the truth. No punches spared. No letting himself off easy after his actions. Most poignantly the story is clearly written by a child.No ghostwriters to neaten it up. You get the whole horrible story from the raw emotional perspective of a 12 year old! I know I would not have survived as well as he has did. You can't help but cry as you turn the pages and confront one terror after another. Everyone should read this book!
drummerboy More than 1 year ago
In Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone, he presents the ideas of living in poverty in Sierra Leone, Africa, as well as finding a method to survive in times of hardship. Beah has an approach to the writing that leans toward expository, though he still crafts a well-written memoir. Beah’s purpose of writing this novel is to let us feel his emotion through the perilous events rather than having the emotion given to us. A Long Way Gone is a memoir (pointed out in the novel’s subtitle Memoirs of a Boy Soldier), though the writing does not express a full rendition of a memoir. Beah often lingers off into expository writing, where he informs us of impactful situations instead of showing us true feelings about them. Even though Beah feels strong opposition towards the war, he approaches it in the calmest of ways when he writes. Of course, A Long Way Gone is not for the sensitive reader; it should appeal more to readers who have read a similar book about poverty or hardship in the past. For me personally, A Long Way Gone sends some mixed messages when it comes to reading a piece of writing revolving around war and the extreme efforts to survive through it. However, this novel has a powerful impact on the way I think of discrimination and the terrible lives of the crippled and poor. As the author, Ishmael Beah’s premises for A Long Way Gone are wrapped around his amazement at how he managed to survive or transport to the United States alive. It was his willingness and urge to write about his experiences that gave us A Long Way Gone. To sum it up, the story raises issues such as constant depression in the war, where people are forced to survive in harsh conditions while being savagely treated by their enemies. This is a common theme in the book. Quite accordingly, the author emphasizes this theme through the description of hard-to-bear situations such as not being fed, not being protected, and not being the hunter of the game, but the hunted. The clearness of A Long Way Gone is good enough so that you can recognize characters and their personalities, as well as events, themes, patterns, and significant information. It is also clear enough to see that the book’s life-threatening situations are having an impact on Beah. If Beah’s ultimate goal in writing this book was to expose the injustice of the war and leave it exposed, then I’d say he achieved that goal.
jlasagna More than 1 year ago
A long way gone is an amazing story about a 12 year old boy named Ishmael Beah, who wants to be a rapper, living in a war torn country. He experience many hard ships through his life including graphic killings, horrific scenery, drug use, and lose of his family members. He is being chased by the ruthless rebels who want to take over the country and is backed into a corner. With hard times and with little combat training by the government he takes his gun and decides to fight back. His only options are kill or be killed. This book was an amazing book. It opened my eyes to how real and horrible some countries are. Young kids not even teenagers being forced to fight, snort cocaine mixed with gun powder, and watch people they love die gruesome deaths on a regular basis is just mind blowing to me. This book is not your average fairy tale. It is a very graphic and real book but if you are looking for something to open your eyes to what is really going on out there, this is the book for you
SciFiHighFive More than 1 year ago
I read this book and found Beah's experience quite amazing; I have come to realize that in every aspect of life, it depends on the next generation to preserve a healthy society, and the terrorists in Sierra-Lione or in any other place for that matter aren't making it any easier.
donnareads911 More than 1 year ago
This story was heartbreakingly sad and shockingly true in this memoir of war, seen through a child's eyes; not just seeing it and living it, but also killing in it. This brings a view of war to a totally different level. Of course, war is never "pretty", but shown from this 13 year old childs eyes, it caused this mom to shudder at what he had seen and lived through. I was also touched that a stranger here would also become this childs new mentor and parent. It renewed my hope in mankind, and drops me to me knees, praying for peace not only for children but for all of us. And to see what this young man has become... Awe-inspiring.
MrsPearson25 More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this book it was a touching and horrible-to-imagine-this-happens-to-people memoir. Read for yourself!
khayman1 More than 1 year ago
Khayman Nunez Sautner/P6 May 1, 2013 Book Review A Long Way Gone Review                 This nerve-racking novel accounts for the life of a young boy, Ishmael Beah, surrounded by friends and family, living a happy life, practicing his dancing to his American rap cassettes, suddenly gets it all taken away. Forced to flee his home into some unrecognized land, he struggles to stay away and hidden from the rebels, he gets recruited by the national army and becomes a twelve year old soldier. Taught to use an AK 47, he was trained to kill any rebel he saw, whether it was shooting them or stabbing them multiple times until they were for sure dead.                 Countless days of fighting went on between the army and the rebels, raiding each other’s camps for food and water, Ishmael was shot for the first time in the foot, barely feeling because of the drugs, Ishmael made it back to his base safely. Luckily he was saved by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), from the murder and drugs he was dragged into. Ishmael was sent to a rehabilitation center to get him off drugs and become a normal teenager. Ishmael had a lot of anger built up in him, but with the help of the nurse was able to let it go and become happy again. Ishmael has seen the worst of humanity as a twelve year old boy and still managed to live a regular life.  Ishmael changed a significant amount in the span of this book, which is the theme of the book. War changes people, Ishmael went from a young innocent boy to a killing machine, and addicted to drugs. When people saw him they got afraid and ran away in terror. This book teaches everyone who reads it about the real world and how violent it can get. Humans can do some really bad things to each other and this book shows and teaches you all about it. This book is written so perfectly, it feels like you are there with him, experiencing what he did. Through his good memories and close to death events, the details are so riveting it feels like you are seeing all of it with your own eyes. “In the sky there are always answers and explanations for everything: every pain, every suffering, joy and confusion.”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I cannot even begin to describe just how much i loved this book I feel as though all people of all nations should read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Daniel Saldana Mrs. Brown English 9(H) 22nd January 2017 Book Review “A Long Way Gone” This book is very nerve racking and introduces a variety of characters throughout. The author Ishmael was a young boy holding on to his childhood until he was forced to partake in the war he was running away from. He changes from being scared to hold a gun to killing with ease,”The idea of death didn’t cross my mind at all and killing had become as easy as drinking water. (...) I didn't feel a thing for him, didn't think that much about what I was doing.”(122,124). Ishmael developed into a warrior without mercy when he joined the “army”. Another character is Ishmael's older brother Junior who comforted him when he needed it,”Junior was in front of me and his hands didn't swing as they used to when he strolled across the yard on his way back from school. I wanted to know what he was thinking, but everyone was too quiet (…)”(26). Ishmael looked toward his brother for reassurance and someone to talk to. He is the only person left out of his whole family. The main conflict of the story is the war which results in him joining the army. The events leading to him joining the army is the when rebels attack his home town so him and his brother scavenge for sanctuary. Also a leading event is when he finds out his family is alive in a village but he only finds the village ransacked and everyone dead. I thought this was an incredible book, and I can’t believe it’s actually true. One instance I found especially terrifying was when rebels were chasing and shooting at Ishmael and his friends for a long time without getting shot. This also happens when they run away from the village Ishmael's parents were last seen and Gasemu a friend was shot. Another event that is hair-raising is when they are put in a line to get executed but the army comes and they are able to escape. I would recommend this book even though it is quite gruesome. I believe it's an amazing book that's hard to put down. The childhood of Ishmael Beah is nothing like I've read before.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was really good. I had to read it for global & I hoped it was as good as the comments I read said it was. I was not disappointed. I even got upset when I was reading this book because I really wanted the author to be reunited with his family. The only thing I did not like about this book is that the chaps were too long. Thats the only reason I did'nt complete the book after 3 days.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a very true depiction of war that most americans dont see. It especially toutched me since i have a brother from africa who had simalar exeriences with death.i recomend this to anyone who wants to know about the bad stuff that happens ib other countrys. If you want to know more about things like this look up the anuak genocide in ethiopia.it is a truely terrible thing that isnt that far off from the holocost just in smaller numers
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah is a personal narrative about his experience in Sierra Leone's civil war. He tries to escape the rebels, is taken in as a boy soldier, and is rehabilitated by UNICEF. The book has a strong message about the child fighting in Africa. Beah hives accurate descriptions of his day to day life. Some of the events are horrific and scar him for life, such as seeing dead bodies all over invaded and burning villages. His personal feelings and his psychological troubles that are told provide great insight into the effects of the turmoil continuously happening in African countries. While some of the story seems repetitive and drawn out, it is the truth as it happened and as people need to know it. Most people know of at least some of the things that take place in these hostile environments, but they often do not realize the full impact the battles and killings have on the people, especially the children. This book gives an accurate, well done description of what it is like, and while things like this have to be experienced to understand all of the fear and anger; it reveals some of the truths and horrors to try to stop the injustices.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the most mesmerizing books that I have picked up in quite a while. The author's shocking descriptions and vivid imagery can only contribute to this wonderfully narrated and expertly crafted novel. Anyone looking for a good, thought-provoking read--whether interested in the socioeconomic state in Africa or not--will undoubtedly find this book enjoyable. I did!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have not read the book I just bought it and I will read it as soon as it arrives. I saw the young man on John Stewart's show, 'The Daily Show' and was immediately a taken by his story. I am a believer in his story before I even read the book because I too grew up in a war torn country and I could immediately relate. Everything he said, about living in a war state and still come out whole is true. I was born and raised in South Africa during apartheid. In the 80s I was a child who saw death with her own eyes. People ask me how I survived the traumatic experience of seeing a person who has been burned beyong recognition and is lying on the street in front of me. I tell them, simply, I was a child who simply grew up and never looked back. His story is remarkable. I will make sure my children read this book so they can see what other children in third world countries live like. My children are fortunate because they grow up in a first world country, and they cannot begin to understand what their parents went through, and hopefully it will empower them to work for the human race, to be better adults and understand the people on the receiving end of wars.
Anonymous 22 days ago
Spine tingling book. He made the pages come alive so I felt I was living through the war with him. Such terrible things for a child to endure and then be able to keep himself from returning to the rebels when things looked hopeless for a time.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Anonymous 11 months ago
Good read tread terrible ending.
MaeAnnLois More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book “A Long Way Gone”, is about a young boy’s adventure of a child soldier in Sierra Leone. There is a lot of violence and poverty that makes life hard in his country. The boy, Ishmael Beah, is put through a lot and his courage is challenged throughout the book, but at the end he prevails. Through all the tragedies he has lived through, he has come out with his courage intact. The book shows the horror the civil war has brought upon the country. I would recommend this book to anyone who is oblivious to the horrors of the country. The book shows how bad the people of the country has it. People were no reason and children were separated from their families. Ishmael Beah portrays the gore of Sierra Leone in the book as well. The things people went through as the war passed through their village was unspeakable. People in the United States couldn’t feel the pain of the families in sierra Leone at the time. If you want to learn more about the violence and a great story, read this book.
khary More than 1 year ago
Khary Muhammad Per. 6 H-english A Long Way Gone : Book review In this book there are many characters however, only a couple of main characters, One of the main characters, is who the story is about; Ishmael Beah. Ishmael is a 12 yr. Old boy who lives in Sierra leone during their civil war. Ishmael was, like ordinary young teenager, who enjoyed rap music and dancing. However, he happened to live in Sierra leone at the wrong time, which caused many issues later on. One key event that occurred in this book was when his village got raided by rebel fighters. When the village got raided, him and some of his friends were forced to flee in the jungle and avoid getting recruited. Ishmael himself knew eventually rising that the rebels would catch up to him and he would be recruited and branded as one of them. The action of this novel would be when, the surrounding tribes captured them and held them captive which caused tension, as the rebels were on the hunt.” The villages that we captured and turned into bases as we went along and the forests that we slept in became my home” Another rising action was when Ishmael and his friends were actually recruited by the rebels and branded to join their army. In my opinion the book A Long way gone was good. The story was a page turner, from plot to plot. Like in the beginning when everything was simple and Ishmael enjoyed hip-hop, but then conflict started to rise when the civil war had occurred. Also enjoyed the moment when one of the local tribes tied them up and almost killed them because they were thought to be rebels. Another part of the plot was when ishmael had split up with the group, found others but then later captured by the rebels only to be trained and branded as one of them. This book in the beginning had a slower pace but picked up as the book went on. In conclusion this novel was very interesting and I recommend to you, because it was a outstanding read.
lordfarquaad More than 1 year ago
Amrit Gore Mrs.Brown English9h-6 20, January 2017 Book Review Ishmael Beah’s heartbreaking story, “A Long Way Gone”, is depicted as a true story about his life. The story mostly takes place right around a war in 1993. We’re introduced to Ishmael as a twelve year old who’s heard of the war, but he doesn’t expect it to hit his village. He had “thought that some of the stories that the passerby told were exaggerated”; however, he later on knew the extent of what a war can do. The book gives a taste of what his life was like before the war, he’s obsessed with rap music along with his brother Junior and his friend Talloi who go to Mattru Jong to compete in a talent show. His protective brother, Junior is separated from Ishmael during an “attack in the village of Kamator”. Uncle Tommy is a positive, loving man who adopts Ishmael when he comes out of his rehabilitation center. Esther is a nurse who plays a huge part in Ishmael's life, she provides him with love at the rehabilitation center which gets him to open up about his traumatic experiences. The conflict of the story is caused by the maniacal war. The war seems to change Ishmael as he does all types of unfit things such as stealing and killing. It’s the mere survival that Ishmael is doing such vicious acts. The book gives an intriguing look on what a child’s life would look like as a soldier. I like the story’s realism from the beginning. When the rebels come Ishmael Beah does not hold back on gruesome details of the war. Ishmael and his friends at the start see a woman carrying her baby on her back with “blood running down her dress and dripping behind her, making a trail.” Also, they thought they should go back to their hometown but were stopped by a van with dead bodies inside. The book is dark but practical. He was forced to join the army when he was only thirteen years old and that's where he started to kill, steal and do drugs. As time goes on Ishmael gets forced in a rehabilitation center where he learns on how to be with people again and himself. The book is ultimately about a young boy whose life is turned around overnight and on how he finds his way back. I would encourage people to read this book because it gives a huge urgency on how children are being brainwashed to join an army and blindly kill throughout the world.
merve tekcan More than 1 year ago
Before I start to talk about the wonderful book known as A Long Way Gone, turn away if you plan on reading this book in the future since this stream of consciousness will have a lot of spoilers. Before opening this book I was sort of not excited to read it but once I started I just couldn’t put it down. It is about a boy whose home country is ravaged by a civil war that victimizes every single person who inhabits Sierra Leone, a small country in West Africa. He moves through Sierra Leone and enlists as a child soldier who is then rehabilitated into a contributing citizen two years later. One thing that kept him going however was a quote that his dad told him when he was younger. It was that “If you are alive, there is hope for a better day and something good to happen” This quote keeps him going through many losses, including the loss of his family just before he was about to find them. Even later in the story when his newly found uncle dies during the occupation in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, which I only expected because I saw the date in the book and I watched a documentary when I was younger and remembered that Freetown hadn’t been occupied yet. It is quite a sad book that can teach many of the children in our society today to appreciate our parents and everything they do for us. It also shows that we should always fight to get to that better day where we can enjoy life and cherish the moment. In the end shows us how lucky we are that we live a country that doesn’t experience violent struggles for power in which many people die. I really enjoyed this book and would easily recommend it to anyone as it taught me lessons about how war can ravage a country leaving its people bitter and full of sorrow. For more comments and reviews… http://www.storebit.com/books/a-long-way-gone-memoirs-of-a-boy-soldier-paperback/
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah is about learning to overcome any kind of struggle or hardship you endure in life. Ishmael Beah lived in Sierra Leone during war times and witnessed just about every aspect of war and also lived both sides. During the war he lost his parents and his brother was killed in front of him. After everything and everyone he cared about was ripped from him he was convinced to become a soldier to fight off the people that robbed him of his life and gain some closer. UNICEF took him to a rehabilitation center to get him away from the war and drugs. He overcame the worst life anyone could live and made it to the point where he could give people knowledge about how terrible war really is by sharing his story with them. I really enjoyed the entire book but if I had to choose a part I didn’t like it would be how quick the book goes from crazy to calm. I really liked how it gives readers closer to Ishmael’s life and how he finally got real closer and gained something out of losing so much. This book is actually my favorite book and a great read. It shows that it’s possible to make it through anything in life and to learn from struggles and make them into a lesson to share with others. The book also explains that sometimes revenge is not the best idea.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Long Way Gone takes place in Sierra Leone during the 1990s. Ishmael Beah’s village was attacked by the rebels and Beah was separated from his family. Ever since that event, he has been running away from the rebels going from village to village. The main character, Ishmael Beah, is good boy who loves his family and gets along with others until he joins the army and becomes a killing machine. The Lieutenant is a temporary father figure for Beah during the war. Esther, another major character, is one of the nurses at the rehabilitation center. She has unconditional love for Beah and is the key to his change. The main conflict in this story is with himself. Beah struggles to develop into a civilized normal boy who does not shoot the first man he sees or relies on marijuana or cocaine. As a result of the conflict, he begins a new lifestyle that will change him forever. One major event in this story was the Lieutenant picking Beah to go to UNICEF, where he will begin a new lifestyle that will change him forever. The second major event is that Esther the nurse buys Beah a cassette and a Walkerman, which is something that he has always wanted ever since it was taken from him during the war. One of my favorite parts was when Esther shows unconditional love to Beah. For example, “Esther put her arms around me and pulled me closer to her… ‘Think of me as your family, your sister’” (Beah 167). Another aspect of the story that I enjoyed was the relationship between Beah and his friends. For instance “That night we went out to Bo Road where street vendors sold food late into the night” (Beah 8). The only part I disliked was the gore. At the beginning of the story, “In the back of the van were three more dead bodies, two girls and a boy, and their blood was all over the seats and the ceiling of the van” (Beah 12). I recommend this book to others because the story is inspiring and humbling. The trials that Beah were able to conquer were not easy. Also, I tend to think that the struggle of traffic or having no wifi is the worst thing in the world. However, after reading A Long Way Gone, I was humbled; it was brought to my attention that children my age are going through much worse than I am, so I need to be more grateful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book back in 7th grade as part of an assignment... I'm a Junior in High school now and I still haven't been able to forget the impact this book has left on me. The thought of young boys being turned into killing animals in order to survive is absolutely heartbreaking... I reminds us that there worse things going on in the world than a silly feud between pop stars or the latest fashion trends. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in reading a story about not only heart break but survival.